Describing Metal

I sit down at my desk, pen in hand, headphones on, and click “play” on my iTunes playlist. How do I define this music that I love so? Is there a constant between these many disparate genres? It seems more like a series of spectra in various dimensions. Metal is a vague identifier that describes a subset of this multidimensional space, the boundaries of which are far from definite, and certainly not objective. I hypothesize that there are general lines within which most fans of this genre could agree to label “metal’. Sub-genres are sure to extend beyond this commonly held space, and not all sub-genres will occupy its entirety, necessarily (since some begin on the fringes and then continue into the distance). . Here are a few spectra I can identify..

2 Replies to “Describing Metal”

  1. Oh yeah, Metal and it’s thousands of sub-genres 😀
    I don’t like this “drawer-thinking” at all, but I have to agree that most of the genres make sense. I just don’t get the difference between Pagan Folk and Viking at all 😀
    It’s hard to describe the tag “Metal” – perhaps hard guitars and a critical world view.

  2. Yeah, I know it kinda sucks thinking of things so compartmentally, but I feel like we’d be kidding ourselves not to acknowledge the divisions, y’know? I found some interesting musicological definitions that I’ll prolly post in the next draft of my essay 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

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